Exercising in the heat
It’s starting to warm up in North Queensland as we move out of winter and into the summer months. It’s important to start building strategies to ensure you keep motivated and safe while exercising in the heat.
Understand the dangers from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body can longer get rid of extra heat when exercising. As one of the bodies natural ways to cool our body during exercise is through sweat, it’s especially important to note that high humidity levels impair this- which is common in North Queensland.
Other factors that impact our bodies response to regulating body temperature during exercise include: poor fitness, dehydration, alcohol consumption, having an infection, obesity and many types of chronic illness. It’s important to not only know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke- but to consult with a health professional especially if you are not used to exercising in the heat.
Keeping Active Year Round
Staying active year round is important for our physical and mental health, so it’s important to develop strategies on managing exercise in the heat (preferably before the middle of summer). Whether adapting your current activities to the climate or finding some alternative ones during the warmer months- there are plenty of ways we can keep active and healthy in summer.
- Be sun smart. Not only is avoiding the direct summer heat important to avoid sunburn and reduce skin cancer, but also in ensuring you don’t overheat. Try planning your regular activities in the early morning or late afternoon. Where there is direct sunlight ensure you are covered appropriate with hats and sun safe clothing.
- Find activities that are undercover or indoors. Trying new activities is always a good way of keeping motivated, why not use the warmer weather to get you to try a new gym class (especially one with aircon), finding a pool with adequate shading or an indoor sport.
- Ensure you have plenty of hydration. Walking with a water bottle or planning a running loop that has drink stops to ensure you can keep your body cool.
- ”Heat is a hill”. Just as you can’t expect to go as quickly or as long up a hill, so the heat will require you to adapt your workouts to the added demand placed on the body.
- Listen to your body and know the signs of heat exhaustion. It’s important working hard is not always working smart- ending your workout a bit earlier due to heat might save you having to miss future workouts.
It’s important to remember that everyone adapts to the heat differently. Ensure you make the necessary changes to help you keeping happy and health in the summer months, and speak to your GP or a health professional to keep safe.
NQSF Program Coordinator